Nike's Wimbledon dress continues to cause uproar

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during her women's singles match on day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Photo / AP
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada during her women's singles match on day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London. Photo / AP

Nike's controversial "lingerie" Wimbledon dress has been heavily criticised by players for making them uncomfortable during the opening days of the grand slam.

The sports apparel giant was last week forced into what was described as an embarrassing re-call of its Nike Premier Slam dresses so they could be altered in time for Wimbledon's opening round of matches.

According to reports, players complained the dress was too revealing below the waist and was branded "skimpy" by some commentators.

Canadian star Eugenie Bouchard is among a group of around 20 players to have worn the much-maligned threads and appeared to struggle with her ensemble during her first-round win over Magdalena Rybarikova.

Eugenie Bouchard of Canada at Wimbledon. Photo / AP
Eugenie Bouchard of Canada at Wimbledon. Photo / AP

The dress frequently flew up above her waist, causing some tennis fans to label the Nike product the "Marilyn Monroe".

The bouncy dress was slammed by a number of players while other stars, including 2013 Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki, refused to wear their sponsor's suggested dress.

"I didn't feel comfortable showing that much," Lisicki said, according to the New York Times.

"I tried it on but didn't feel comfortable showing that much. For me, the most important thing is to feel comfortable and not to think about anything."

Sweden's Rebecca Peterson, who was knocked out in qualifying, said the dress interfered with her court movement.

"When I was serving, it was coming up, and I felt like the dress was just everywhere," Peterson said. "In general, it's quite simple, the dress, but it was flying everywhere."

The Czech Republic's Lucie Hradecka decided to wear leggings underneath the dress during her Wimbledon preparations.

Katie Boulter, another qualifying casualty, wore the Premier Slam with a headband tied around her waist.

Donna Vekic of Croatia in her Wimbledon match. Photo / AP
Donna Vekic of Croatia in her Wimbledon match. Photo / AP

The most notable criticism came from Scottish tennis coach Judy Murray - the mother of World No 2 Andy - who said she expects Nike to make immediate alterations to the dress.

"The important thing for any clothing manufacturer who is sponsoring top players is to make sure that the clothing is functional for the job in hand," Murray told the Telegraph.

"So I'm sure that Nike will be taking steps to address it. Because anything that is not functional proves distracting to the players and that's not in anybody's interests.

"I know from experience of watching the boys, you have to get the clothing right, the footwear right because these are partly the tools of your trade so it has to be functional for what it is that you need to do."

Despite this, Bouchard says she actually enjoys wearing the controversial outfit.

Short & sweet ?? @nikecourt #stealtheshow

A photo posted by Genie Bouchard (@geniebouchard) on

"For me, I love it," Bouchard told TSN. "It's nice and short so you can move around and be free with your movements. Yeah, I don't know. It's funny that people paid a lot of attention to it, but I really think it's really nice."

Nike released a statement saying the dresses were not recalled and that the alterations made to them were standard practice.

"The product has not been recalled and we often customise products and make alterations for athletes as they compete," the statement said.

"We work closely with our athletes to provide them with product that helps them perform and feel their best on the court.

"Despite the traditional aesthetic, the dress features modern design elements such as power pleats and racerback construction, which work in tandem to enable the athlete's movement."

Kinda in love with my wimbledon dress @nikecourt #audemarspiguet #nikecourt

A photo posted by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on

World No 1 Serena Williams is also a Nike ambassador, but is wearing her own signature dress during The Championships - the Nike Women's Premier Wimbledon Serena SW19 Dress.

Despite the Premier Slam dresses causing a backlash among players, the ensembles were approved by the All England Club which decided the revealing dresses did comply with Wimbledon's strict all-white dress code.


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